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Groundbreaking Trade Overhaul! ASEAN’s Bold Moves Shatter Cross-Border Constraints – Your Future Investments Have Never Been Safer!

In a powerful move towards the elimination of cross-border trade barriers, Duangarthit Nidhi-u-tai, the esteemed deputy director-general at the Department of Trade Negotiations, Commerce Ministry, announced an array of innovative strategies. The focus of these strategies is geared towards bolstering both the agricultural and industrial sectors.

The projected outcome of these refinements is an invigorating boost to innovation across all allied parties, set to fortify the economic health of all involved regions and their partners. As such, the stakes of this meeting, conducted on the 14th and 15th of July, were quite significant.

The forum witnessed ASEAN negotiators engaging in enriching discussion with representatives from each country, leading to an assortment of enhancements to every Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

In a triumphant announcement, Duangarthit relayed that the 39th ASEAN-Korea Free Trade Agreement (AKFTA) had seen remarkable upgrades in the form tax reduction tables spanning from 2017 to 2022. Following this protocol are nine ASEAN states whose concurrence will indubitably streamline and expedite trade between ASEAN and Korea.

Further enhancements to the AKFTA included ongoing deliberations to modernize the agreement with fresher regulations and measures while simultaneously tracking the progress of the digital trade industry study, which is expected to have a significant impact on future global trade.

Reinforcing their commitment to nourish economic ties with ASEAN, South Korea revealed a strategic initiative tailored towards nurturing startups amongst ASEAN and establishing a collaborative network of industry standards. In addition, they launched several co-projects aimed at enhancing electrical safety.

Duangarthit emphasized that this initiative presents a golden opportunity for ASEAN members to glean knowledge from South Korea, particularly in terms of fostering innovation within sectors and entrepreneurs.

Concurrently, ASEAN and China engaged in dynamic dialogue exploring several subjects pertinent to the 44th ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA), particularly those within the realms of agriculture and industrial exports.

A primary takeaway from this dialogue was the shared resolve to expand general awareness on emerging economic trends such as the green economy, digital economy, and supply chain connectivity, with the goal of achieving the common agreement by 2024.

Current negotiations on the ACFTA are centered around advancing economic cooperation, establishing trade and investment regulations, while furthering the span of the e-commerce project, which predicted to be approved this month.

Regarding the discussions on 2/28 ASEAN-Japan Free Trade Agreement framework, the summit successfully expedited the “Future Design and Action Plan for the Innovation and Sustainability of ASEAN-Japan Economic Cooperation” initiative (2023-2033).

Included in these collaborations were noteworthy concepts such as the ASEAN-Japan circular economy initiative, digitalisation of supply chain, and co-creation to confront societal challenges with firms. They also arranged a networking conference catering to young business leaders and Generation Z entrepreneurs from both ASEAN and Japan.

Duangarthit disclosed this outcome is set to be presented at the 29th ASEAN-Japan Economic Ministers Meeting (AEM – METI Consultations) in Semarang, Indonesia on August 22, thereafter proposed at the ASEAN-Japan Summit in December to honor the 50th anniversary of the ASEAN-Japan diplomatic relationship.

As for the negotiations on the 11th ASEAN Hong Kong Free Trade Agreement (AHKFTA), a major accomplishment was the completion of 557 Product Specific Rules (PSRs) which encapsulate the authentic manufacturing procedure of each product. Such PSRs empower exporters by simplifying criteria adherence consequently increasing mutual usage of trade benefits.

Further enhancements to the AHKFTA included an agreement to mutually exchange economic and academic comprehension in various fields of study. An example of such is a temperature-controlled transport mechanism for fisheries, which offers training to ASEAN officials on controlling decay processes and assessing the quality and shelf life of fishery goods.

Having arranged a workshop on the subject, Thailand received roughly 3.29 million baht to conduct analogous programs this year. By fostering detailed understanding and appropriate training, these programs will undeniably aid in maximizing the longevity and quality of fishery products, supporting the thriving export sector.

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